Situating ‘Giving Voice to Values’: A Metatheoretical Evaluation of a New Approach to Business Ethics

Journal of Business Ethics 121 (3):477-495 (2014)
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The evaluation of new theories and pedagogical approaches to business ethics is an essential task for ethicists. This is true not only for empirical and applied evaluation but also for metatheoretical evaluation. However, while there is increasing interest in the practical utility and empirical testing of ethical theories, there has been little systematic evaluation of how new theories relate to existing ones or what novel conceptual characteristics they might contribute. This paper aims to address this lack by discussing the role of metatheorising in assessing new approaches to ethics. The approach is illustrated through evaluating a new pedagogy and curriculum for ethics education called Giving Voice to Values (GVV). Our method involves identifying a number of metatheoretical lenses from existing reviews of ethical theories and applying these to examine GVV’s conceptual elements. Although GVV has been explicitly presented as a pedagogy and teaching curriculum, we argue that it has the potential to contribute significantly to the development of ethical theory. We discuss the general implications of this metatheoretical method of evaluation for new approaches to business ethics and for GVV and its future development.



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Nin Kirkham
University of Western Australia